How safe are these things?
Can you opt out if it’s already installed?
“What is happening scientifically is beyond most of our understanding- yet there are experts who are beginning to realize what is causing so many reports of headaches and other health impacts from the meters.” — Rob States, electrical engineer
“We’re dealing with microwave radiation that’s an environmental toxin, and the opt-out is a first step. But then we need hearings on the health impacts.” — Sandi Maurer, EMF Safety Network
As of July 31, 2010, regulators had received 4,169 complaints from PG&E customers about the wireless electricity and gas meters, questioning their accuracy and possible effects on human health.
One local woman became concerned about the Smart Meter after they were installed because her neighbors in Yucca Valley and friends in Rancho Mirage became sick and affected.
Jane Humphries registered her desire to opt out of the Smart Meter program on the California Public Utilities Commission website and also called Carole Brown, chief of staff for CPUC President Michael Peevey, at (415) 703-2971, to register her concerns. That may be a smart thing for all of us to do.
The American Coalition Against Smart Meters is also concerned about the immediate health risks of the Smart Meter. They allege smart meters pollute our environment, causing electrosmog, a threat to life, health, and safety. They say smart meters are also a threat to our freedoms, as they intrude upon our privacy.
Michael E. Boyd writes that the wireless version of the SmartMeter has no UL mark so it isn’t safe and can cause a fire like it did in San Bruno California where PG&E’s pipeline exploded.
Concerned citizens are organizing a Smart Meter Forum in Santa Barbara on April 28th.
It is all part of an Edison $1.63 billion smart-metering program. Thus far, millions of smart meters have been installed. It is true that smart meters will generate real-time information that empower consumers to monitor and control their energy consumption, but who is supposed to pay for the purchase, installation, maintenance of the smart meters?
The Desert Sun queries: “Let’s talk smart meters. They’ve been a hard sell in the Coachella Valley and elsewhere because people don’t see the immediate benefits; some have seen their bills go up.” Pacific Gas & Electric has already had problems introducing the new smart meter rates to commercial customers, and ratepayer advocates are calling for more education and a gradual introduction process.
PG&E, based in San Francisco, has more customers than any other California utility and was the first in the state to start installing the advanced meters. The Public Utilities Commission has approved every major transmission project in the past five years that has come before it, so it’s nothing more than rubber stamping. When has the PUC ever done it’s job and placed the safety of its people ahead of corporate interests?
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE) tops a list of the utilities making the highest investments. PG&E continues to suffer smart meter woes among concerns from those who worry about privacy issues and/or health concerns from the built-in wireless technology of these meters.
Many people have been being driven from their homes and report unbearable headaches, sleeplessness, tinnitus and other symptoms from the powerful bursts of wireless radiation that the FCC and CPUC — insist are safe — but that increasing firsthand evidence — not to mention peer-reviewed science — says otherwise.
The utilities go to the PUC several years ago, seeking a massive rate increase to pay for their ‘smart’ meter program. An appointed, beholden PUC rubber stamps their request, raising $2.2 billion from its customers without even asking them (or so much as notifying them.)
Note that increasing evidence indicates that there are more health problems associated with the beleaguered ‘smart’ meter than just the rf antenna. Researchers looking at the remote switching mechanism are suggesting that it may be responsible for many of the reported health impacts, especially tinnitus and other auditory impacts. Rob States, an electrical engineer who has been studying this.
He writes, “Since individuals with no history of RF disease are experiencing symptoms the first day the meter is installed, we can assume the meter’s RF emissions are not the only problem. The RF network is activated months after initial meter installation. Extensive measurements have demonstrated that all of the meters measured so far, including ABB, GE, and Landis Gyr, emit noise on the customer’s electric wiring in the form of high frequency voltage spikes, typically with an amplitude of 2 volts, but a frequency any ware from 4,000 Hertz, up to 60,000 Hz. ”
Moreovers, “The actual frequency of the phenomena is influenced by the devices that are plugged into the customer’s power. Some houses are much worse than others, and this observation has been confirmed by PG&E installers that have talked to us.”
Rob States, an electrical engineer studying the problems, advocates 1) Independent hearings at the state level on what’s wrong with the ‘smart’ meter program so that these experts can contribute their knowledge to keep us safe; 2) the right to keep your analog meter, and the right to have it replaced if you have had a ‘smart’ meter installed; and 3) the CPUC must declare an immediate moratorium on further installations.
There is the story of one woman’s struggle with migraines, and eventual realization that her (not so) smart meter was to blame. Her solution in the face of her utility’s refusal to remove here meter-
For the somewhat good news, The California Public Utilities Commission gave PG&E two weeks to put together a plan to give customers the choice to opt out of having a smart meter installed. This proves that the public outcry around the meters was enough to warrant new policy. But this is not the end of the smart meter fight. These meters are still being installed all over the US in record number. According to the PGE website, the intent of the meter is to use wireless technology to create “a mesh of network coverage”.
Assemblyman Jared Huffman, who represents Marin County, introduced legislation
in December that would force PG&E and the state’s other utilities to offer their customers a choice of advanced meters – either wireless or wired. The choice would be retroactive, extending to customers who have already received a SmartMeter.
Assembly Bill 37 – Smart Meters: Gives customers who do not want to have a wireless smart meter installed at their home an alternative of having a hard-wired smart meter, and requires utilities to disclose information about the radio frequency (RF) emissions of their wireless smart meters.
Current status of Bill:
MEASURE : A.B. No. 37 AUTHOR(S) : Huffman. TOPIC : Smart grid deployment: smart meters. HOUSE LOCATION : ASM TYPE OF BILL : Active Urgency Non-Appropriations 2/3 Vote Required State-Mandated Local Program Fiscal Non-Tax Levy LAST HIST. ACT. DATE: 04/04/2011 LAST HIST. ACTION : In committee: Set, first hearing. Hearing canceled at the request of author. COMM. LOCATION : ASM UTILITIES AND COMMERCE TITLE : An act to add Section 8370 to the Public Utilities Code, relating to electricity, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.
By Branson Hunter, a pen name used for no other purpose.
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